Macrame - Ancient art dates to primitive people
The Hickory News, NC. Thursday, January 6, 1977 Section 3B. Digitized by Doug Frizzle, January 2011.
Paul W. Schaibly first took up macrame as a means of making extra money while serving in the U. S. Marine Corps shortly after World War. I. He recently renewed his interest after retiring from a construction engineering career. He now teaches the craft at various local craft shops.
Macrame consists of very few kinds of knots and much can be accomplished with just one or two types, the square knot and the half hitch. Adults and children have learned to tie these in one or two hours and been well on the way toward making a flower pot hanger, a belt, a pocket book, or what ever they selected before an evening was over.
There are many books at craft shops to guide one in selecting a project and most craft shops have someone to help you.
If one has absolutely no knowledge of the art at all it is best to find some help. I recommend learning the knots first.
With these two knots it is possible to make a large variety of useful articles by varying the spacing between the knots with the use of cardboard gauges and by the addition of rings and beads.
There are, of course, other knots which are helpful in making the article more decorative. A few of these are: Chinese crown, larks head, Josephine, and monkey fist. These take more time and concentration to learn but are not necessary for the beginner, it would be best not to worry about these until the square knot and the double half hitch are mastered.
The time required to complete any project varies according to the individual. But it is not uncommon for a beginner to complete a 3-ft. flower pot hanger in two to three hours.
The wonderful part about macrame is that it requires a minimum amount of equipment and the material can be the most common type of cord.
Macrame is really a very ancient craft. Knots have played a very important part in the lives of primitive people, being used in fishing, hunting and trapping of wild animals and in the harnessing of tame ones; for securing the rafts, canoes, huts and also for dress. The knotting together of vines and grasses and sinews was no doubt the earliest forms of craft; then forms of weaving. Today housewives, nurses, doctors, sailors, butchers, and fishermen depend on knots of various forms to complete their tasks.
Macrame probably originated in the Middle East. The Arab world used macrame to a great extent and then it spread north into Europe during the time of the Crusades. The word macrame didn't come into use until the middle of the nineteenth century and appears to come from the Turkish word, Makrama, meaning a fringed napkin or kerchief. The word later came to be applied to any work of this kind.
Today, macrame is being rediscovered. Due to the simplicity of the fundamental essentials of knowledge and the meager amount of tools and space required it has become very popular. This has put a great demand on the jute and various cord industries to the point that prices of these items have increased rapidly. Also beads, metal rings, frames and publications related to macrame are in great demand.
PAUL W. SCHAIBLY